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Your Job Is Not Your Job. A Conversation With Fred Kofman

"To You That Are Beyond The You That You Think You Are"

Fred Kofman is advisor, Leadership Development at Google, TotalPicture interviewFred Kofman

Fred Kofman is advisor, Leadership Development at Google. Since 1990, Fred has designed and facilitated programs on leadership, personal mastery, team learning, organizational effectiveness and coaching for thousands of executives, and consultants worldwide. His New Book is titled The Meaning Revolution. The Power of Transcendent Leadership.

Welcome to a Leadership Channel Podcast on TotalPicture, I'm your host, Peter Clayton

His previous book, Conscious Business, has been translated to more than ten languages and received numerous awards. Conscious Business was recently named by Sheryl Sandberg in her New York Times interview as "the business book every executive should read"

After completing a Ph.D. in economics from Berkeley, California, Fred taught Management Accounting and Control Systems at the Sloan School of Management where in 1992 was named "Professor of the Year". During his time at MIT, Fred worked alongside Peter Senge as a senior researcher at the Center for Organizational Learning.

Fred has led seminars in the U. S., Europe, South America and Asia and has presented his research at numerous academic institutions


Fred thank you for taking time to speak with me on TotalPicture, and happy book launch day!

The Dedication page of your new book, The Meaning Revolution reads, "TO YOU THAT ARE BEYOND THE YOU THAT YOU THINK YOU ARE" that's pretty heady stuff, could you unpack that for us?

You have a fascinating backstory, could you briefly share who is Fred Kofman with us?

In the forward to your book, Reid Hoffman writes, "If you treat your employees as resources to optimize, you will never ascend from manager to leader. To make that leap you must recognize your employees as conscious beings who yearn to transcend their limited existence to noble immortality projects." He continues by saying , "welcome to the enlightening mind of Fred Kofman." And there, in a nutshell is a pretty good overview of a major theme throughout your book. Would you agree?


You define leadership as the process by which a person (the leader) elicits the internal commitment of others (the followers) to accomplish a mission in alignment with the group's values. Could you expand upon your concept?

To follow up on that, how do you define transcendent leadership?

How did you decide on the Meaning Revolution as the title of your new book?

Why do organizations lose?

How can organizations win

The second chapter of your book is titled Disengagement. The Gallop U.S. employee engagement poll is at around 31% - only 31% of employees are, using Gallup's definition, "engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace." So I think disengagement accurately reflects the true assessment of the typical workplace, the typical job, the typical management approach to their employees, KPI's and all.

And as you write, Fred 20% of employees who are actively disengaged can do real damage to an organization.

Can you describe your concept of the business world being a 3 dimensional space? IT - WE - I?

We both share a common attribute, Fred. We are both introverts. But I don't get up in front of thousands of people every year to give speeches and conduct workshops. How were you able to overcome your fear of - people?

You spend quite a bit of time writing about KPI's Key Performance Indicators! Yes! CFO's love KPI's, Sales Managers love KPI's, CHRO's love KPIs. Why don't you, Fred?

In the power paradox you write, "If you wish to become a transcendent leader, after you've vanquished disengagement, disorganization, and disinformation, you must confront the greatest and most challenging adversary of all: your own power. Please explain.

Circling back to our discussion of disengagement for a minute, I'd like you to discuss the flip side, your chapter on Motivation, which leads off with this" Engaging employees is a huge productivity boost; it's like picking up $1000 dollar bills from the sidewalk. But the vast majority of leaders just let the employees sit there, unmotivated and disengaged. This makes no economic sense if companies are losing an estimate of over $300 billion a year in productivity, plus the additional losses of talent, market share, and profits to disengagement, why aren't results oriented leaders doing something about it? And if they aren't, why isn't market competition replacing these leaders? What's your answer, Fred?

I'd like to close our conversation today by having you discuss the four pillars of intrinsic motivation: purpose, principal, people, and autonomy.

How can our listeners connect with you?

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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